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Starting quant career in asia

Is there any disadvantage in starting one's quant career in Asia, in particular in HK, right out of a phd? Do they do enough interesting work in HK? My eventual goal is to return to Asia, but I am wondering if it is wiser to get some experience in NY first? I have offers both in NY and HK, and am having a hard time trying to decide. Any advice is most welcome!
 

kean

Mathematics Student
First of all, I repeatedly telling people that giving advice advice to someone is a dangerous task. Please view my comment as a general opinion. You do have to decide.
First of all, are you from Hongkong? If you are from Hongkong, you should know HK well enough to decide your choice.

Getting some experiences in US is not a bad idea because you can always move back to HK. Again, if you decide to settle down in HK then going back early may help to build up your network. It is all depend what you want to do. If your final destination is in trading, then I probably will go back now. otherwise you can try out US first with more exposures.

In my opion, HK is quite advance in terms of derivatives trading. So long as you can make enough money as you wish, living in US or HK is the same. I personally prefer to live in HK because of my current network and HK is fun. Please do not forget the Greater China.
 
Here is some info I found

I think the three financial centres within Asia of Hongkong, Singapore and Australia is the place to be in. Most of the foreign banks, IBs and hedge funds are located either in Hongkong or Singapore where there are tax incentives for them to set up there. Currently, Singapore seems to be winning in the bid for FIs to locate there with notably several major banks/IBs recently, Barcap, Merrill, Credit Suisse, UBS shifting global operations into Singapore. As a result, there is a shortfall of quality staffing such as quants and risk managers to fulfil this requirement. Salaries here are lower than those in Nyk, London and to a certain extent, Hongkong. But the lower cost of living makes up for it.

In my personal opinion, I think the quant situation here is improving with more qualified quants locating to the far east and dealing with emerging markets here. You can get a feel of the FIs from the website of the MAS (the regulators here) at www.mas.gov.sg

If you want to get a feel of life here in Singapore, you can surf through ww.expatsingapore.com
Or the Signapore government website, check out under "Non resident" www.singapore.gov.sg

Unfortunately, there does not seemed to be a specific HH that caters for quants or quant type of work. I suggest you looked into Monster.com.sg - More jobs for Singapore, www.morganmckinley.com check out asia category. or Jobs & Career Advice at Michael Page or give the guys at Chrisallensearch.com a call..
 
Asia itself has a big shortage of quant, risk manager & derivs types. In fact, over the last 2 years or so the number of hedge funds has ballooned in both HK & Singapore - often big global funds setting up offices. Demand for those should remain firm - the problem area is more likely to be in the more general analyst field, since start-ups (a constant source of demand) will be tougher & expansion may slow. There is after all, China & India, fertile ground quant work - which, as commented, should have more focus now
 

kean

Mathematics Student
I don't where is your origin. However, if you want to make more money and probably have your own business >> stay in HK.

If you want to work in derivatives and being a professional....and have a not so stressful lifestyle >> Singapore.

Australia >> market is too small. The market is more for equity trading than derivatives.:)

Is there any disadvantage in starting one's quant career in Asia, in particular in HK, right out of a phd? Do they do enough interesting work in HK? My eventual goal is to return to Asia, but I am wondering if it is wiser to get some experience in NY first? I have offers both in NY and HK, and am having a hard time trying to decide. Any advice is most welcome!
 
Is there any disadvantage in starting one's quant career in Asia, in particular in HK, right out of a phd? Do they do enough interesting work in HK? My eventual goal is to return to Asia, but I am wondering if it is wiser to get some experience in NY first? I have offers both in NY and HK, and am having a hard time trying to decide. Any advice is most welcome!

I've seen very good quants & risk managers at my work place moving to Asia within the last year. Also, a professor of one of our classes constantly traveled to Asia to do his business. He often told us great stories about how deals are done over there using all kinds of interesting exotics. If I have to choose, I'd pick Asia since I think this is where it'll get very interesting!
 
The game plan for most people with Far East career inspiration seems to be get a couple of years of experience on Wall Street before they move back East. I don't think you can find the kind of entry-level jobs right out of MFE in Asia as you can find in the US. Even working for Goldman Singapore is not anywhere working for Goldman NYC in term of quantitative positions.
 
Even working for Goldman Singapore is not anywhere working for Goldman NYC in term of quantitative positions.

I'm not so sure about this. How did you come to this conclusion? I would think that they'd send their best people to new markets, new businesses, etc. so if you're working with these people it'll be such great opportunities.
 
I'm not so sure about this. How did you come to this conclusion? I would think that they'd send their best people to new markets, new businesses, etc. so if you're working with these people it'll be such great opportunities.
From reading the posts by headhunters who cover quantitative recruiting in Asia and US. I think your point is not contradicting my point essentially. My point is it's easier to find a quantitative position with GS NYC than GS Singapore
When GS (I use GS for example, not because I know how they work ;) ) sends their best people, they send business managers, S&T people, not necessarily hard core quants oversea. Again, these are internal transfers and largely not in technical positions. I'm talking about entry level quantitative positions. I hardly see any positions available for MFE students in Asia compared to tons in London, NYC.

My firm has offices all over the place but as far as I can tell, the quantitative groups are in NYC and London. I don't know if any firm has their core quantitative groups in Asia
 
When GS (I use GS for example, not because I know how they work ;) ) sends their best people, they send business managers, S&T people, not necessarily hard core quants oversea. Again, these are internal transfers and largely not in technical positions.

I agree with you, but I think they do send people with strong quant. skills as well (probably not a fresh graduate though). One of the veteran quants/modelers that I used to interact with is moving to Asia soon. Maybe things are different at diff. companies.

I hardly see any positions available for MFE students in Asia compared to tons in London, NYC.

This could be the case now but I think this will probably change. It's hard to believe that as financial activities grow in the region, the demand won't follow. ;)
 

kean

Mathematics Student
Search Quantfinancejobs probably you find the ad for Asian quant jobs.

NYC and London are still the hubs because quant things are still new in Asia.
HK and SG definitely have the jobs. For one thing, for newbies are better armed with
famous schools' MFE. Asian is different from US or UK. If you don't have connection, you've better armed with "brand".

What you know is good but not important. Who you know is important and probably makes you rich in Asia.
 
What you know is good but not important. Who you know is important and probably makes you rich in Asia.
Unfortunately, this is true in some part of Asia. Political connection and under the table envelop are essential to get in the door/keep the job/get the best job

I'm curious to know how many people would be willing to leave their NYC post to Asia for less money. Would an exotic adventure worth a reduction in salary for you ?
 

kean

Mathematics Student
How could you know they get less when they get relocate to Asia? As far as I know HK and SG are paying well too. It is also great to get some experiences from Asia. Like my maths teacher used to tell me, one can't do the maths does not mean other people can't do it. One can't make it in a location, doesn't mean other can't do it, too. I would ask myself..do I have the gut to make it big?

I think we need connection regardless is in Asia, US or anywhere. The one thing separate a businessman and an employee is the gut to leave his or her comfort zone, then strive to make it big. Please bear in mind that QF is not the only way to make a fortune. Even one has good models, this person still needs some angels to fund the trades. To fund these trades are all about business connections. If we don't know people and no connections, how to trade? Unless someone strikes a lottery or some fortunes fall from the sky. Chinese have plenty of funds.

It is about gut...21st century is about Asia even Treasury Secretary mentioned it.



Unfortunately, this is true in some part of Asia. Political connection and under the table envelop are essential to get in the door/keep the job/get the best job

I'm curious to know how many people would be willing to leave their NYC post to Asia for less money. Would an exotic adventure worth a reduction in salary for you ?
 

kean

Mathematics Student
I may just want to add more information. Banks like Merill Lynch, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Lehman, Bear Stearns and other multinationals only want to hire branded schools graduates in China otherwise these graduates have to be Tsinghua University or Peking University.

So, if no connections then getting a brand is a must. Many people get pissed off with the current situation in Asia in particular in China. Chinese are very brand minded now. My apology to all the Chinese friends in this forum. I think this is a fact and we can't avoid it. The rich is richer and the poor is getting poorer.
 
I may just want to add more information. Banks like Merill Lynch, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Lehman, Bear Stearns and other multinationals only want to hire branded schools graduates in China otherwise these graduates have to be Tsinghua University or Peking University.

So, if no connections then getting a brand is a must. Many people get pissed off with the current situation in Asia in particular in China. Chinese are very brand minded now. My apology to all the Chinese friends in this forum. I think this is a fact and we can't avoid it. The rich is richer and the poor is getting poorer.

surprised u know so much about China. but it should be noted that graduates from 5-6 top schools in China all have chances to be accepted by big IBs, not only those two u mentioned:)
 

kean

Mathematics Student
surprised u know so much about China. but it should be noted that graduates from 5-6 top schools in China all have chances to be accepted by big IBs, not only those two u mentioned:)


I like people being nasty. Perhaps you lost touched with your homeland if you are a Chinese or unfortunately you are not from these two Peking or Tsinghua. Please forgive me being rude. I did not say that other universities graduates wouldn't get a job from any investment banks but these two are branded and more IBs like to hire from them.

I know when I put up this statement may hurt Baruch because Baruch is not in the top 10 league but why you care if you are good enough. I believe only people who believe they are inferior may be in this so called insecurity situation will make such remarks.

My belief is that if you are good enough, then convince someone to hire you even you are not from the top 10. I am sure many graduates from Baruch may be or even smarter than the top 10. The only thing is that do you dare enough to borrow hefty loans to start your journey with a top 10 like Stanford or Harvard even you get admitted. You may be academic excellence but successes count on gut...do you have the balls?:)
 
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